The Supreme Court has overturned a long-standing ruling that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, a move that will make it easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects.
The high court, in a 5-4 ruling, overturned the 1986 Michigan v. Jackson ruling, which said police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for one unless the attorney is present.
The Michigan ruling applied even to defendants who agree to talk to the authorities without their lawyers.
The court's conservatives overturned that opinion Tuesday, with Justice Antonin Scalia saying "it was poorly reasoned, has created no significant reliance interests and (as we have described) is ultimately unworkable."
Although I haven't yet read the opinion, I have some concerns about this, especially given the ever-expanding number of criminal offenses. And before law 'n order champions celebrate, they should remember that ultimately a criminal defense lawyer's job is not merely to get his client off. Rather, it's also to ensure that the government does its job properly, IOW, that the government plays be the same set of rules to which it holds the rest of us.